Saturday, October 20, 2007

We Are Family

Did it surprise anyone this week to learn that Dick Cheney and Barack Obama were eighth cousins? I think it’s interesting, but not all that surprising.

By the time you trace back that far each person alone has 512 great great great great great great great great grandparents. That is a lot of people and countless branches to be related to someone!

Have you ever found out you were related to someone you already know?

That’s happened to me twice, actually. Genealogy interests me and I did have a pretty comprehensive family tree completed on my mother’s side, except for one missing piece.

Since irony is the story of my life, this missing piece was filled in by someone I really hoped never to hear from again.

Long ago, my grandfather’s grandfather’s brother had a serious falling out with the family. So serious, in fact, that he completely disowned them and changed his name so as never to be associated with them again. I did know what that name was, but it was just far too common a name to extensively search and frankly, I’m wasn’t THAT interested to do all of that work.

Long story short, when I was a teenager, I had a stalker of sorts. I’m not sure anyone called anyone a stalker back then, though.

This guy that I worked with at a pharmacy (he was about 10 years older and the pharmacist) was insistent on dating me. I was not interested in him and all and being “jail bait” at the time, I thought his preoccupation with me was a little strange. He was always bringing me gifts, sending me flowers, happening to be in my neighborhood, showing up where I happened to be, etc. My mother told him if he didn’t back off she’d kill him at which point he asked her out. Weirdo.

Fortunately, for me, stalker found the woman of his dreams and continues to live happily ever after with her. Funny thing is, even I thought the girl he married reminded me of...well, me. Our co-workers teased me incessantly about this.

Skipping ahead, when the internet became readily available, I poked around a few genealogy sites and found a post by a woman whose last name was the same as the missing branches on my family tree and she was looking for people with my family surname. Goodness! I had to respond!

Her name was Ruth and I e-mailed her and we spoke a bit and determined we were third cousins. She came to one of my family reunions, satisfied her curiosity, I guess because I never saw or heard from her again.

A few years later, I get a phone call stalker! Without even exchanging pleasantries, wants to know if a man named “Stanley X” is my grandfather.

Why is this idiot calling me and how did he get my unlisted phone number?

Stanley X was not my grandfather, but he was close. Stanley X’s brother, Dale, is my grandfather. Letting my curiosity get the better of me, I gave him this information.

He screamed “Oh MY God!” into the phone. I still had no idea why he wanted to know this.

He then told me that his wife, the one I always thought reminded me of me, is my third cousin.

How on earth did he figure that out?

Well, it turns out that while he was researching his wife’s lineage, he came across the X name. Ruth, the woman I met online and stalker’s wife are first cousins. When stalker asked Ruth if she knew anything about the “X” side of the family, to his utter shock, she gave him my name.

Stalker had accumulated a huge amount of information about my missing branches and he e-mailed me the entire list.

I quickly scanned it over and I was shocked to discover that I already knew somebody else on the list.

If you go back a couple of posts to my daughter’s Homecoming pictures, you will see a third girl in the pics I refer to as “Cousin K”. She is a close friend of Middle Daughter’s and when I first met her, I remarked out loud at how physically similar she looked to my kids.

Needless to say, it was K’s name that I discovered on the family tree. K was instantly promoted from being just a friend to a 5th cousin to my children. K’s father and I are fourth cousins.

I’m convinced this is why people sometimes see similarities between two apparently unrelated people. There’s probably some long lost relation between the two.

A few years ago, it was determined that mathematically, everyone on earth would find that they are directly descended from The Egyptian Queen, Nefertiti. Not only Nefertiti, but everyone in the world can supposedly trace a common ancestor to Confucius, as well.

If this is true, then somehow you are all related to me,The Rock Chick. We are family. This is something to celebrate, so....get up everybody and sing!


mom huebert said...

Our family has been reading through Genesis this week, and we have been discussing the fact that everyone on earth is related through Noah. But that's quite a bit further back than I care to keep track of....!

The Freelance Cynic said...

Well, every time you drink a glass of water at least one molecule in that glass passed through the bladder of Oscar Wilde.

That to me shows that blood is thinner than water

Pen and the Sword said...

Wow! That is just too awesome. You know, two weird things to share with you regarding this topic...

Hubby and I were once scared we were related. Found out however that we weren't though we do share some cousins. His uncle married my grandmother's first cousin. So his first cousins from that family are my third cousins. Isn't that crazy??

Also, regarding people who look alike... do you suppose that is why they say everyone out there has a twin? My hubby and that guy Steve from Blue's Clues look so much alike they could be brothers. It's crazy!

Crystal said...

Your stories are always so interesting.

I can't believe stalker guy asked your mom out after she threatened him. That's just beyond bizarre!

The Rock Chick said...

mom: wow. yeah, that would be quite a project :)

freelance: glad to see you back! I've missed you! I have not heard that Oscar Wilde water story! That's just, well, wild!

pen: wow! if you share cousins, you are related somehow, but those "once, twice removed" things come into play. See..and this is just my mother's paternal side and they are a close knit bunch. My dad's father was married at least 8 times and fathered 21 children. All of whom he seemed to abandon along the way when he found the next wife. I'm sure I have tons of long lost relatives out there.

As far as everyone having a twin..I didn't believe it until it happened to me. My friends showed me this picture they stumbled across of a girl posing nude (and not even a classy kind of pic) with a guitar. She was all tattooed up and let's just say, it wasn't the most attractive of pictures. If I were a tattoed up, naked, guitar posing kind of girl though, that girl could have been me. It was FREAKY!

crystal: thank you! I try! That guy was a total nutjob!

Vixen said...

Glad to add another cousin to my roster, especially one as cool as you. Wait, aren't you in the Chicago area? My grandfather was born there, I think they moved here to the west coast when he was a young teen. Maybe we really are related?

Thomas said...

I need to find out more about my family tree.

Qtpies7 said...

I don't know if that is creepy, scarey or cool.

Karina said...

Once, in my teens, I met a really hot boy, and we totally hit it off...started talking about our families and realized we were 3rd cousins...we became great friends after that, but I was always mad that such a hot boy had to turn out to be related to me! ;-)

JAM said...

A guy that I went to high school with and his younger brother who was also a good friend of mine, turned out to be distant cousins of mine. My great grandfather and their great grandmother were brother and sister.

We found out in a weird way too.

Small world sometimes.

Nowhere near as creepy/cool as your story though.

Kendra said...

that is all very strange!

somehow they figured how i'm related to sheryl crow on my mom's side of the family!